A Texas bill that would reduce the number of STAAR tests and change graduation requirements for public education students is headed for a conference committee in Austin. 

Nikki Cowart with the Cy-Fair American Federation of Teachers calls it a good first step toward education reform.

"That there is a testament to the profound unpopularity of the current state testing regime which many teachers, parents and other concerned citizens see as a mechanism to enrich the testing industry rather than students' education," Cowart tells KTRH News.

The measure would reduce the number of STAAR tests from 15 to just five.

Cowart says schools currently use up 35 days just to study for the STAAR test.  She says taxpayers paid out $470 million to the testing company last year.

The measure also would do away with current high school graduation requirements, allowing students to choose among career and vocational pathways, two of which would not require students to take Algebra II.

Clay Robison with the Texas State Teachers Association says that's the key component since not everyone is cut out for college.

"For students who don't plan to go to college, don't want to go to college, it keeps them in school to graduate from high school to make them employable or allow them to attend trade school after high school," he says.